What is Intermittent Fasting?

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There’s a lot of talk out there about intermittent fasting. While I don’t specifically prescribe a certain diet or way of eating for everyone, I do like to offer different theories so that people can try tactics to see what works for them. Everyone has different goals and different body types and intermittent fasting may be a helpful tool for you, depending on what your needs are. Here’s a little bit of background to let you know what it’s all about.

What is intermittent fasting? Throughout the day, your body is in either a fed state (digesting food) or fasted state. In a fed state, your body will have higher insulin levels so it can use glucose for energy.  In the fasted state, your glucose levels are much lower and your body will then use fat as its next fuel source. Intermittent fasting is simply an eating pattern where you eat during certain times and don’t eat during others.

What are the benefits of intermittent fasting? Many claim that some of the benefits of intermittent fasting include:

  • Losing weight

  • Improving memory

  • Lowering cholesterol

  • Disease prevention

What are the different types of intermittent fasting? Some examples of the different types of fasting include:

  • The 16/8 method where you fast for 16 hours and eat within 8 hours in a 24 hour window. The idea is to eat the same amount you typically eat, just in a shorter window during the day

  • The 5 days/2 days method where you to eat normally five days a week and you fast the other two days, just limiting calories to 500-600 on those fasting days

  • Full 24-hour fasting where you you don’t eat for 24 hours, either once or twice a week.

I personally practice the 16/8 method where I eat the same amount, just in a shorter window of time.  I eat during 8 hours of the day and abstain from eating for 16 hours.  I’ll typically eat between 10 am – 6 pm, 11am – 7pm, or 12 – 8pm, which ever works best for my schedule that day and depending on what my body needs. I have tried full 24-hour fasts in the past and have a really difficult time with them. I’ll successfully complete them but then binge eat after, which takes me back to old habits that I’ve successfully broken otherwise.  While I don’t practice 24-hour fasting, it doesn’t mean it might not work for you. Again, I encourage you to experiment with that works for your body.

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If you’re curious about trying the 16/8 method, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Initially, trying shortening your eating window by a few hours at a time.  If you typically eat between 8am – 8pm, try eating between 9am – 8pm, then 10am – 8pm, and so on until you hit the 8 hour eating window. 

  • Drink lots of water throughout the entire day

  • Enjoy coffee, tea, and kombucha in the mornings before you break your fast as long as your total caloric intake is under 50 calories.  Consuming under 50 calories before your first meal will not break your fast.

  • Make sure you consume enough calories during your eating window to hold you over long enough to get you through your fasting window the next day. You’ll get hungry earlier if you’re not eating enough food during your 8-hour window.

If you’re curious, try it out and let me know how it goes!

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